WNY Catholic schools no stranger to challenges

Immaculata Academy

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- It’s been a tough few years for many Catholics schools in Western New York.

Immaculata Academy is the latest school to announce it will soon close its doors forever.

Monday, social media was flooded with emotional comments about the closing; some Immaculata students even wrote letters to celebrities, asking for help to try and keep their school afloat.

Immaculata’s $7 million capitol campaign wasn’t enough; 
45 staff members and 180 students will need to look elsewhere next year.

Kevin Keenan, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which has voiced its support for the school during this transition, says Catholic schools have been dealing with the same challenges for a couple of decades.

Nuns are getting older and need to be taken care of, and Buffalo’s demographics are changing, which impacts enrollment.

“The population isn’t what it was a decade ago, two or three decades ago,” said Keenan.

“Families are smaller. Back in the 60s and the 70s you had families that had as many as 10-12 children, and they went to Catholic schools. And those children now, don’t have the big families.”

Although specific placement will depend on geography and other factors, Keenan told News 4 Bishop Malone instructed all area Catholic schools to welcome Immaculata students. The schools include:

  • Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart
  • Mount Mercy Academy
  • Mount. St. Mary Academy
  • Nardin Academy
  • Canisius High School
  • Cardinal O’Hara High School
  • St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute
  • St. Mary’s High School

“This is a very raw time. But the young women are resilient and they will find new places to continue the Catholic education in high school, and they’ll succeed,” Keenan said.

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